Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Wendy Smith

Date of this Version



Bauer, J.C. (2019). Strategies that promote elementary student STEM engagement. (Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States). Retrieved from


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Wendy Smith. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Jennifer Bauer


Collaboration, creativity, persistence, and critical thinking are all skills encompassed when integrating STEM into today’s classrooms. Empowering students in STEM related areas is essential for students’ future success in the 21st century and educators must prepare citizens for these types of creative skills (Cook & Bush, 2018). Integrating STEM disciplines through project-based learning and providing real-world situations to solve problems enhances student engagement and achievement in STEM concepts (Cook & Bush, 2018; Hall & Miro, 2016). The topic defined in this research plan focuses on instructional strategies that make STEM more meaningful to science curriculum, as well as engaging for upper elementary students. This research action utilized a qualitative approach and was conducted using a combination of student interviews, assessments, and student self-reflections, and instructor observation notes, weekly journal entries, and teacher-lesson reflections. Key findings from this study may aid educators in providing their students with effective STEM instructional strategies that align to NGSS Standards while sparking student interest and engagement in STEM related areas. This engagement and interest in STEM led to students’ academic success and will hopefully lead future youth to pursue STEM related careers.

Advisor: Wendy Smith